Savage, Leonard J.

Hide Profile

Leonard Jimmie Savage was born in 1917 in Detroit, Michigan. He attended the University of Michigan, earning a B. S. in 1938 and a Ph. D. in mathematics in 1941. After receiving his doctorate, Savage spent a year as a Rackham fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study. In 1942-1943, he was an instructor in mathematics at Cornell University. He spent the following three years as a research associate at Brown University (1943-1944), Columbia University (1944-1945), and New York University (1945-1946).

In 1946-1947, Savage was a Rockefeller Fellow at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole and at the University of Chicago. He joined the staff of the University of Chicago as a research associate in 1947 and was made an assistant professor of statistics in 1949 and an associate professor in 1953. He became a full professor in 1954 and was chairman of the statistics department at the University of Chicago from 1956 to 1959.

In 1960, Savage joined the department of statistics at the University of Michigan. After a year on leave at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Savage left Michigan in 1964 for Yale University, Where he had been named Eugene Higgins Professor of Statistics. Savage became chairman of Yale's department of statistics in 1969. He died in November, 1971 at the age of 53.

During his career, Savage had received both Guggenheim and Fullbright fellowships. He belonged to many professional organizations, including the American Mathematical Society, the American Statistical Association, the international Statistical institute, and the Royal Statistical Society. He was president of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics in 1957-1958. In 1963, Savage was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from the University of Rochester.

Savage usually listed his chief professional interests as the foundations of statistics, mathematical and applied statistics, and the application of mathematics to biology. He is perhaps best known for his work on the foundations of statistics. His Foundations of Statistics was published in 1954. That book, together with his other writings, made Savage a leading spokesman for the Bayesian school of statistics. He was a major figure in the field and did a great deal in his career to develop and expand it.

The Leonard J. Savage Papers will be useful to researchers interested in the foundations of statistics and in Bayesian statistics, as they contain a great deal of material on these topics and reveal the development of Savage's views. There is also much information on other statistical subjects, questions, and problems.

One of the most valuable classes of material in the collection for the Study of Savage's ideas are his lectures, addresses, and writings. There is background material on the second edition of Foundations of Statistics published in 1972, but there are no notes or manuscript material for the first edition. There is, however, an extensive file of material on Savage's book How To Gamble If You Must, co-authored with Lester E. Dubins and published in 1965.

The Savage Papers will also be useful to researchers interested in the Italian mathematician Bruno de Finetti. He was a close friend and colleague of Savage, and the Savage Papers include many de Finetti letters as well as his writings. Many of the de Finetti writings are Italian language reprints.


The first series, CORRESPONDENCE, contains letters, memoranda, and notes. It also contains some articles, reprints and other material sent to Savage. Most of the correspondence is concerned with statistical questions, problems and controversies. Many letters are from colleagues or students asking for Savage's opinion of ideas or papers, in response to which Savage often provided lengthy and detailed comment and criticism. There is also much correspondence relating to the "refereeing" or evaluation and criticism of papers written for scholarly journals. The series contains correspondence with many significant figures in the fields of statistics, mathematics, economics, medicine, and biology. There is extensive correspondence with Bruno de Finetti (658 items). There is also a large amount of correspondence with Lester E. Dubins (318 items). Other correspondents include: Joseph Garrott Allen (20 items), Francis John Anscombe (89 items), Raghu Raj Bahadur (67 items), George Alfred Barnard (29 items), David Blackwell (54 items), Rudolph Carnap (24 items), William Feller (24 items) Ronald Aylmer Fisher (15 items), Irving John Good (80 items), Dennis Victor Lindley (58 items), Jerzy Neyman (19 items), Egon Sharpe Pearson (41 items), Howard Raiffa (18 items), Paul Anthony Samuelson (41 items), I. Richard Savage (263 items), Robert Schlaiffer (36 items), John von Neumann (11 items), Wilson Allen Wallis (61 items), Warren Weaver (46 items), and Jack Wolfowitz (19 items).

Also in this series is material dealing with an exhibit of animal odorants developed by Savage and his wife, Jean S. Savage, for the Peabody Museum of Natural History.

This series also includes letters of condolence received after Savage's death.

The second series, PERSONAL PAPERS AND MISCELLANEOUS, contains a variety of biographical material on Savage, including academic records and transcripts, certificates, diplomas, newspaper clippings, and photographs. Also in this series are some humorous articles, clippings, and writings collected by Savage. The major part of the series, however, are writings, lists, and advertisements accumulated by Savage.

The third series, ADDRESSES AND WRITINGS, contains notes and manuscripts by Savage as well as material that he published. Notes, manuscript drafts and revisions, and other related material are filed with the final speech or article. This series also contains several versions of How To Gamble If You Must . Additional material on this book is filed in the CORRESPONDENCE series under "Dubins, Lester Eli" and "McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc."

The third series also includes copies of reviews by Savage published in Mathematical Reviews . These are reviews of numerous books and articles by a variety of authors. This series also includes reviews from Mathematical Reviews of some of Savage's own books and papers.

TEACHING MATERIALS AND NOTES, the fourth series, contains material used by Savage in the classroom. It includes notes for lectures and seminars. Also filed in this series are class assignments, exercises, problems, and examinations. Many of the problems and exercises are accompanied by Savage's solutions and explanations. This series also contains notes by Savage on various books, articles, and topics.

WRITINGS OF BRUNO DE FINETTI, the fifth series, contains pamphlets, reprints, books, and manuscripts by the Italian mathematician. These articles are written mostly in Italian or French. The series also contains some material by students of de Finetti and some pamphlets by other Italian or French authors.

The sixth series, the BOOK FILE, contains hardcover books collected by Savage and kept at various places in his files. For ease of handling and storage, they have been re-grouped and placed in this series. Hardcover books written by Savage, however, are filed in the ADDRESSES AND WRITINGS series, and hardcover books by de Finetti are filed in the WRITINGS OF BRUNO DE FINETTI series.

From the guide to the Leonard Jimmie Savage papers, 1935-1998, (Manuscripts and Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Leonard Jimmie Savage papers, 1935-1998 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn University of Michigan. News and Information Services. Faculty and Staff Files, 1944-2005 (bulk 1960-1995) Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Dubins, Lester E., 1920- person
associatedWith Ellsberg, Daniel, 1931- person
associatedWith Finetti, Bruno de. person
associatedWith Friedman, Milton, 1912- person
associatedWith Jouvenel, Bertrand de, 1903- person
associatedWith Kahn, Herman, 1922- person
associatedWith Kaiser, Henry J., 1882- person
associatedWith Lazarsfeld, Paul Felix. person
associatedWith Peabody Museum of Natural History. corporateBody
associatedWith Samuelson, Paul Anthony, 1915- person
associatedWith Savage, I. Richard person
associatedWith Stefánsson, Vilhjálmur, 1879-1962 person
associatedWith Szilard, Leo, 1898-1964 person
associatedWith University of Michigan. News and Information Services. corporateBody
associatedWith Von Neumann, John, 1903-1957 person
associatedWith Yale University. Dept. of Statistics. corporateBody
associatedWith Yale University. Faculty. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country




Ark ID: w6t857cr

SNAC ID: 40368023